Filling the Gap: New Australian Agriculture Visa For Seasonal Workers
Fixing labour shortages
Bloomberg via Getty
Peak agricultural bodies are welcoming the Federal Government's decision to introduce a new agriculture worker Visa in a bid to boost labour shortages across the sector.
The new visa allows foreigners sourced from ten Southeast Asian nations to work on Australian farms, as well as in forestry, meat-processing, and fisheries by the end of September.
North Queensland Local News
With no limit placed to the number of overseas workers, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said, "It'll be demand-driven, so there are no caps on this".
"We're trying to accelerate those [agreements] with countries that we have longstanding immigration relationships with, such as [the] Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam."
- MP David Littleproud
Complimentary to the Pacific Visa programs already in place, the new visa will also promise the temporary workers a pathway to permanent Australian residency.
Newly appointed Deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce confirmed the agriculture visa is the answer to what producers have been crying out for.
“It will give regional Australia the workers they need to get produce to plates in Australia, as well as in our export markets”
- MP Barnaby Joyce
But not all state leaders are happy with the new Visa system, because although a federal initiative, it will require the states and territories to quarantine the workers in facilities operated by the state.
Meantime, Industry stalwart Growcom have ardently thrown their support behind the new visa to better meet the growing seasonal labour needs.
Growcom Policy Manager Richard Shannon says they've been pushing for this for some time and hopes the government can commit to filling our shortened labour force by the end of the year
"This visa was announced as part of their negotiations with the UK government on the 'free trade' agreement and as a part of those negotiations they told British backpackers they wouldn't need to do work on farm anymore to extend their Visa's while in Australia"
- Richard Shannon
The Federal government have proposed the new visa system to be ready by 30 September, with the full implementation completed within three years.
Join Tom Tilley with regular rotating co-hosts Jan Fran, Annika Smethurst and Jamila Rizvi on The Briefing, Monday - Saturday, for the day's headlines and breaking news as well as hot topics and interviews. Available on Listnr.